Tipperary 3-11 Cork 0-13
Cork’s dreams of a clean sweep of provincial hurling titles were ended at Semple Stadium tonight as Tipperary powered to a 3-11 to 0-13 in the Erin Munster Under-21 final.
Darragh Egan was the star man as he hit 1-3 in the first half and helped tee up further goals for Darragh Hickey (46 minutes) and Ray McLoughney (47).
A strong run from James Woodlock allowed Egan net in the 13th-minute. Cork though, thanks to three Patrick Cronin points, were only 1-6 to 0-5 down at the interval.
Croke Park hero Cathal Naughton helped close the gap to two points for Cork but Tipp raced clear to claim the Premier county’s third U-21 title in four seasons.
Cork, who cracked four goals past Tipp to win last year’s final, got off the mark first with Maurice O’Sullivan sending over a third-minute free, but the Premier attack quickly got into gear.
Egan equalised, turning onto his right, before the sides hit over two points apiece with Cronin (0-2) swapping scores with Richie Ruth and Niall Teehan.
The pacy Woodlock then came into his own, showing well to run through and point. In the next attack, the Drom & Inch clubman then shuttled the ball through for Egan to snipe onto it, turn and using a shortened grip, bat past Ken O’Halloran for the opening goal.
A pass from Brendan Barry allowed Cronin the time and space to point, but two Egan frees had Tipp 1-6 to 0-4 clear by the 21st-minute. A disappointing end to the half saw Cork add only one point to their tally through Naughton, while Tipp fared worse, running their wides tally up to seven.
Naughton cut the gap to three points just at the start of the second half and the reigning champions had a dominant spell as a Stephen Lillis point was followed by Cork overs from O’Sullivan (free) and Eoin Cadogan.
Lillis and Ruth replied for Tipp to maintain their four-point lead, and while wing forward Ronan Conway soon became Cork’s fifth scorer, a two-goal burst from Fr. Tom Fogarty’s side really put the result beyond any doubt.
A short run by Egan drew in enough Cork defenders for substitute Hickey, lurking to the left, to drill home past O’Halloran to the far corner of the net.
Just seconds later, Egan lobbed a ball in towards the Cork square and after Ruth’s initial attempt had been repelled, corner man McLoughney reacted fastest to sweep the ball home for a 3-9 to 0-9 lead.
Points from Cadogan, O’Sullivan (free) and Naughton kept Cork, whose ‘keeper O’Halloran was forced to make an excellent double save from Woodlock and Ruth, competitive for the closing stages, but Tipp were out of sight and already turning their attentions to next week’s All-Ireland semi-final against Antrim.
TIPPERARY – G Kennedy; P Stapleton, A Burns, C O'Brien; D Young (capt), JB McCarthy, S Horan; J Woodlock (0-1), S Lillis (0-2 (1f)); R O'Dwyer, N Teehan (0-1), D Sheppard; R Ruth (0-3), D Egan (1-4 (3f)), R McLoughney (1-0).
Subs used: D Hickey (1-0) for Sheppard (half-time)
CORK – K O'Halloran; C Murphy, E Dillon, E O'Sullivan; S Cronin (capt), S O'Neill, E Cadogan (0-2); C Naughton (0-3), M Harrington; R Conway (0-1), P O'Brien; P Cronin (0-3); B Barry, J Bowles (0-1), M O'Sullivan (0-3 (3f)).
Subs used: G O’Mahony for E O’Sullivan (11 mins), K Canty for O’Brien (30+1), D Dwyer for S Cronin (34), D Dorris for Barry (42)
Referee: Ambrose Heagney (Clare)